Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Yonex EZONE Wedge Review

This equipment review was written by equipment contributor Andrew Rehfeld, who continues to share his large amount of equipment knowledge for the site.

If you’ve read my other reviews, you will know that I’m very particular when it comes to my golf clubs, and this is especially true with wedges. However, I am not the only one. There’s a reason that you see so many custom grinds on the wedges of tour pros. Each player has different specs on clubs throughout their bag, but there is something especially personal with wedge preferences. Considering the short game is where real game improvement happens, it may not hurt you to be particularly choosy as well.

I have played the Scratch 8620 wedges for the past two years, and have always felt short-sided since they are made through the casting process. I also don't love their glossy, chrome finish. However, I really liked the shape, size, grind, and bounce options of the Scratch clubs. When it came time to replace my wedges, I looked for wedges with a similar shape, but a duller finish, and a forged head.  This led me to the Yonex EZONE wedges.

The EZONE wedges come with stock shaft offerings of either Dynamic Golds or the Nippon NS PRO 950GHs. Since I have the NS PRO shafts in my Miura irons, I chose to get the same shafts in my wedges. I ordered the shafts in stiff flex, which will be useful with half and three-quarter swing wedge shots.

I ordered two wedges – 56º and 60º.  Yonex doesn’t offer any grind or bounce options, and these came standard with some trailing edge relief and 12º of bounce in both clubs. This lack of choice did not bother me, because the stock grind and bounce options are to my liking, but others may prefer more choice. 
Over the years it has become more difficult to find wedges offered without any plating – “raw” and unfinished. I was pleased to find these wedges in a special release, raw finish.  It’s always annoying when you’re using a chrome wedge and the sun reflects directly into your eye on a chip shot.  It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it sticks firmly in your memory.

The EZONE wedges look great. The markings are very clean and simple. I especially like the fact that the sole of the club has no markings. I’m eager to see how the raw finish begins to rust. The wear that you see in the pictures has come from only two light practice sessions.

Yonex claims that these clubs have an “onset." Unlike nearly every other club on the market, the EZONE wedges actually have a leading edge that is in front of the shaft.  This was part of the reason I picked these clubs. My Scratch wedges had the same sort of bulging, rounded leading edge, and it does seem much easier to hit.
Yonex really hit a home run with these clubs, and they have luckily turned out just to my liking. The grind on the 60º isn’t exactly like the Scratch 8620 D/S wedge from which I switched, but the important factors are still present. The trailing edge relief allows me to open up the face without adding bounce, and that bulging leading edge is right on the money; I feel like I can hit it off any lie without a problem. Out of the bunker, it performs exactly like my Scratch wedge – perfectly.
The 56º does not have a similar grind to the Scratch 8620 D/D.  However, I knew this in advance, and I was looking for a change. I wanted the grind to be somewhere between the 8620 and my old Mizuno MP-T11, and the EZONE slots in perfectly. It’s great on full swings and around the green.  With some trailing edge relief – unlike my Scratch wedge – it slides through the turf very well.
I’ve heard it said that many blade wedges are cast (rather than forged) due to mishit shots being less detectable off the face, especially when compared to cast irons. This being said, I have always found that my Scratch wedges produce a “clicky” sound at impact, which has not been present with previous forged clubs. This is not the case with the cast EZONE wedges – they feel soft and smooth. Apparently the raw finish makes them even softer, which only adds to the effect.
I’m very happy with this purchase.  My only complaint is that I wasn’t able to order them to my specs.  I had to cut them both down ¼” and changed the grips upon arrival. Outside of these routine changes, the clubs have been perfect.

Yonex is hard to come by in the US, but they make very high quality clubs.  Some golf shops carry them, but they can always be purchased from the Yonex website.  This wedge is expensive at $179 a piece, but if you do some deep digging on the internet as I did, you’re sure to find it for less. 

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